A Giro d’Italia rider suffered a lucky escape while tackling the monstrous Mortirolo climb, when he suffered a violent asthma attack that caused him to fall into a ravine.
Alexis Vuillermoz crashed while battling over the toughest mountain of the race so far when he was hit by the attack, and was helped by his team-mates and race organisers.
The Ag2r La Mondiale rider was miraculously able to re-mount his bike and finish stage 16, despite the frightening moment.
Posting on Twitter after the stage, he said: “A huge thank you to the staff, to my buddies at Ag2r La Mondiale but also to the organisers of the Giro d’Italia for making sure I was safe after a violent asthma attack on the Mortirolo that made me fall into a ravine… uphill.
“Fall seven times, rise eight?"
The 30-year-old crossed the line in 117th place but still remains an admirable 31st overall.
It was a chaotic mountain stage on the road to Ponte di Ligno, which had been redesigned after extreme weather made the planned ascent of the Gavia unsafe.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) rode to a momentous victory on home soil, as maglia rosa Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) took time out of pre-race favourite Primož Roglič.
Horrendous weather conditions saw riders pouring hot tea over themselves in an attempt to warm up, as rain battered the riders over the top of the legendary Passo del Mortirolo.
Israel Cycling Academy rider Conor Dunne said: “So cold down that descent I poured hot tea all over myself to try and warm up on the valley road to the finish.
“Bonkers day at the Giro.”
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